UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

In the Pipes

Made-in-Alberta CD offers a vast array of compositions for the church

By Tammy-Jo Mortensen

In the Pipes: Music for Pipe Organ by Alberta Composers
By James Picken, organist
(Arktos)

I’m always looking at new recordings, and I love to perform Canadian works and celebrate our own composers. So I was thrilled to find this made-in-Alberta two-CD set by Albertan composers, recorded by organist James Picken of Calgary.

The discs — almost 130 minutes of music —offer lots of variety. There are short hymn settings and much longer freely composed works, which offer a vast array of compositional styles from very tonal works (Gerald Bales and H. Hugh Bancroft) to improvisatory (Dwayne Engh and James Picken himself) to 21st-century harmonies (John Burge) and pieces based on old forms and harmony (Richard Eaton and Piotr Grella-Mozejko).

The pieces are performed on the most suitable instruments, registered and recorded well, and Picken plays the repertoire with energy. The addition of percussion provides an aural shift for the listener in the middle of the second CD.

The market for organ CDs is limited, more so for Canadian organ music. Yet Picken has gone to great lengths to record and preserve some marvellous repertoire that other Canadian and international organists should know about. While some of the music is not really recital material, there are many useful pieces for church.

This is an enjoyable set of good music that should be played more often in concert and in church.

Tammy-Jo Mortensen is music director at Robertson-Wesley United in Edmonton.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image